Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 6: Mets vs. Marlins

One of the most annoying habits Wayne's developed lately (or maybe he's had it all along and I only started noticing about two months ago) is the tendency to describe every non-fastball pitch as "little." For example:

• "That's that little cutter he throws."

• "He likes to drop that little curveball in there."

• "He's got that little change-up that really fools people."

• "The scoreboard says it was a cutter, but I think it was that little slider of his."

And so on. He never describes a fastball as little, and thankfully he doesn't describe R.A. Dickey's knuckleball that way either. But any other pitch -- it's little this, little that, always said with an air of mischief, sort of like describing a pitcher as "a crafty lefty." In other words, it's a rhetorical crutch that doesn't really mean anything, especially when Wayne employs it literally dozens of times during a single game.

Anyway, tonight the use of "little" reached new heights, or depths, as the Marlins brought a pitcher named Steve Cishek into the game. Cishek has a sidearm motion, so Wayne was probably going to end up saying something like, "There's that little sidearm motion of his," or "He's got that little submarine pitch." But Wayne was bursting with so much enthusiasm that he couldn't wait that long! As Cishek was warming up, Wayne described him as "a little submariner."

For the record: Steve Cishek is 6'5".

Just another day at the office for MLB's least qualified broadcaster. Fire Wayne Hagin already!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 5: Mets vs. Marlins

The Mets, like most teams, have several short, sponsored segments during the lead-up to the start of the game, one of which is "Tonight's Pitching Match-up." It's basically an excuse to run another commercial, and it should be the easiest part of any broadcaster's job. You've known for days who the starting pitchers will be, and you've been at the ballpark for several hours, so you've had plenty of time to prepare. "Tonight's Pitching Match-up" should be something you've scripted beforehand -- either on paper or at least in your head -- so you sound smart and smooth when you deliver it.

And then there's Wayne.

Chris Capuano was making the start for the Mets on Monday night, and here's how Wayne set the stage for us:

Capuano has one of the most [confused pause] important and maybe roughest, uh, assignments you can think of for a pitcher. He is making his 10th start over the last five, including tonight, five of the ten, exactly half of those, are against the Florida Marlins. So both sides know [long pause] he knows what they like, and they know what he pitches.

Read that out loud. Go on -- hear just how bad it really is.

Wayne's basic point here wasn't bad -- a pitcher facing the same team for the fifth time in ten starts is definitely unusual (it was no doubt in the game notes distributed to all the media before the game), and it probably does put the pitcher at a competitive disadvantage. But he garbled the point so badly that the casual listener might think that (a) this was a very important start for Capuano (there are no important starts for journeymen pitchers on also-ran teams in September) or (b) Capuano's familiarity with the Marlins' hitters would offset their familiarity with him (unlikely, and definitely not the point he meant to make).

The thing is, anyone can garble a point in the middle of a game, while live action is taking place. But it takes a very special talent to mess up something like "Tonight's Pitching Match-up" -- a segment that any junior high intern could have prepared for and delivered more effectively than Wayne did.

In a nation full of unemployed people, surely there's someone -- or many thousands of someones -- who could do this guy's job better than he does it. Fire Wayne Hagin already!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 3: Mets vs. Nationals

I only caught a teeny bit of this game, but it included the bottom of the 6th, when Danny Herrera came in to pitch. As Wayne noted (accurately!), this was Herrera's second appearance for the Mets. He had recorded the final out of the previous night's game.

Herrera entered with two men on base and started things off by throwing a pitch to Ivan Rodriguez. Wayne reported that it was a curveball, noted the pitch speed, and then added, "He's not going to overpower you." Of course, no pitcher has ever "overpowered" anyone with a curveball -- it's not a power pitch.

On the next pitch, Rodriguez bounced into an inning-ending double play, which prompted the following Wayne's Whopper™:

Boy, Herrera has been great in his two outings so far for the Mets. He has three outs in just two-thirds of an inning. Tonight he gets a double play on just one pitch!

Now, recording three outs in two-thirds of an inning would be a pretty neat trick (although not quite as neat as having an imbecile broadcasting the games of an MLB team in the nation's biggest media market). Two-thirds of an inning means, by definition, that you have recorded two outs. What Wayne probably meant is that Herrera has recorded three outs while facing only two batters. But as is so often the case, his brain wrote a check that his mouth couldn't cash. Like I've been saying all along, this is minor league stuff. It wouldn't fly in Kansas City, much less New York.

Then there's the notion that Herrera had recorded the double play "on just one pitch." This is after Wayne had specifically gone out of his way to note the speed of the previous pitch. But as usual, facts mean little to the Wayner.

Does anyone know when this guy's contract is up? Fire Wayne Hagin already!